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Concept Statement

(A Short Statement of the Play)



A Concept Statement is a short statement that sums up your ideas about the play.
Directors use concept statements to communicate what they think is most important
about the play in regards to how the play should be performed. A carefully crafted
concept statement communicates the director’s vision of the play. It guides the
collaborating theatre artists toward a unified production of the play. In other words, it
helps them stay on the same page when working on design.

A concept statement is a sentence or a few sentences long. It is a statement that distills
the central struggle of the play while capturing the director’s attitude towards the text.
Words are carefully chosen as signifiers. Brevity is key. With a clear, crystallized vision
of the play that reflects the author’s text and the play’s structure, a group of theatrical
collaborators can begin work on the specific detailed choices of how a production will be
built. It allows freedom to experiment with options while serving as a guidepost for the
myriad choices made in the production process by designers, actors, composers, as
well as the director.

Examples

Hedda Gabler

Set in the 1890’s, the action of Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen centers around the
character of Hedda, a woman raised in luxury who has married below her station and
finds herself trapped in the world of a middle-class housewife. Hedda is a woman with
purpose; she is a visionary life-craver caged by a society who will not allow her to feel.
The play documents a frantic campaign born out of the need to be in control of her life.

Laura Standley, MCLA

King Lear

Shakespeare’s King Lear is a reminder of how quickly a country can be destroyed from
within by political back-biting, greed and complacency. Lear takes for granted both his
responsibility as king and his land's stability, assuming he can leave the daily running of
the country to others while he retires to "the good life." On this land, no one is immune
from the desire for power. There are no heroes and there is ultimately no innocence;
everyone gets their hands dirty. As the battles both political and personal ensue, the
story reveals itself to be actually a quest for love and understanding, and what is truly
important in life.

Karen TenEyk, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Guidelines

Be clear and concise. Keep your concept statement to a paragraph or less.
Check your work for spelling, punctuation, and grammar. At all costs avoid misspelling
the title of the play and the playwright's name!

State WHAT must happen. State the obvious briefly – the given circumstances of the
play and the outline of the plot.

Explain WHY these things happen. This is often less obvious, and more subjective, but
essential to articulate – it should relate to the emotional and evocative content of the
play and lead to the logic of your visual objectives (which could include overall mood,
period style, and so on).

Format

The following list is guidelines for format rather than a finite template. Your statement
need not comply with this list exactly: as long as you include the basic components that
define – and logically explain – your directing approach, you may compose your
statement in any fashion that works for you.


1. The action of the play

2. Thematic conclusion

3. Production/Design Objectives translated in visual/graphic terms

4. Choice of Period, Style, and Form